St Basils homelessness charity in Birmingham has provided 59 young people a place to stay in their Edmonds Court project since the start of Covid-19.
The organisation’s daily routine has been revised due to the pandemic. Managers told Birmingham Eastside the main aim is to prevent the young people they support getting the illness, or if they do, to make sure those people have the support to manage it.
Head of fundraising and communications at St Basils, Barrie Hodge explained they’ve taken several measures.
“We have recruited a team of volunteers to deliver supplies to young people self-isolating. We have increased cleaning rotas at all our projects.
There’s now a system in place where we know how many young people and staff have the symptoms or the virus, and we can respond proactively to everyone’s needs.”
St Basils offers an outreach service to help young people who are sleeping rough to access accommodation. The organisation is also dropping food parcels to the most vulnerable, and ensuring they have medication.
According to Shelter, in 2019 17,258 people were homeless in Birmingham. Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government reveal the number of rough sleepers has decreased from 91 to 52. However the city still remains one of the top ten in Britain with the highest homeless rate
Birmingham City Council has also responded to help vulnerable people during Covid-19 with their emergency community response hub.
More than 7,000 vulnerable people have been handed much-needed food parcels.
The Labour Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr. Paulette Hamilton said: “A huge amount of work has gone into this over the past few weeks, and continues every day, ensuring our most vulnerable citizens get the support they need.”
Hodge also encouraged the public to do whatever they can contribute to St Basils to help them at what is a crucial time.
“We are still here to provide the support that young people need if they experience homelessness. Covid-19 has put a major strain on our resources.
“We know this is an incredibly tough time for everyone but, if you feel you can donate to our cause, even if it is a small amount, we would greatly appreciate it.”
St Basils is offering advice for young people who are homeless or in need of housing support to contact their helpline youthline: 0300 303 0099.